Barclays finds 64% of young Brits are more likely to buy from brands with a social goal since the pandemic began

  •   59 per cent of Brits aged 18 – 34 prefer to buy from brands that market how they’re reducing their environmental impact1
  • This age group will pay an average of 12 per cent more for a product sold in a social enterprise, more than any other demographic
  • According to an industry report, social enterprises are now estimated to be worth £60 billion to the economy, with a record breaking 12,000 social enterprises founded last year

New research from Barclays has uncovered the changing shopping habits of Brits, with two thirds of those under the age of 35 (64 per cent) suggesting they are more likely to buy from brands with a social goal since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The bank and Social Enterprise UK have also revealed that in the wake of this demand from consumers, a record-breaking 12,000 social enterprises were created last year. In the UK, there are currently 100,000 social enterprises and they contribute £60 billon to the UK economy, employing two million people. 

In the survey of 2,000 consumers, almost half (47 per cent) of Brits say they prefer to buy from brands that market clearly how they are reducing their environmental impact, which rises to 59 per cent for people aged 18 – 34. This demographic also suggested that they would pay up to 12 per cent more for a product sold in a social enterprise, higher than those aged 35 – 54 (8 per cent) and people 55+ (6 per cent).

The study suggests social enterprises are becoming an important shopping staple on the High Street, with 44 per cent of those surveyed saying they choose to buy from businesses that give back to the local community, and just over a quarter (26 per cent) preferring to buy from brands that voice support on big social issues such as BlackLivesMatter and LGBTQ+ rights.

And, according to the consumer research undertaken, one in eight Brits (12 per cent) have also considered opening their own social enterprise. Start-up ideas included honey businesses, baby goods retailers, coffee shops and plastic recycling facilities.

To help support the growth of the sector, Barclays is launching a new offering for social businesses which includes opportunities for free mentoring through their partnership with Ethical Angel and loan assessments specifically designed for social business customers, offering even more flexibility when accessing finance.

“The pandemic has accelerated the shift to a more environmentally and socially conscious society, and it’s key that this is supported by politicians and investors alike. Whether it’s growing their business, hiring new staff, giving more opportunities to minority groups or tackling the climate emergency, social enterprises are leading the way.”

Hannah Bernard, Head of Business Banking at Barclays, said: “The pandemic has forced us all to revisit our shopping habits, and it’s brilliant to see the support consumers are showing to social businesses across the UK. The resilience and creativity demonstrated by these businesses who do so much good – in spite of challenges wrought by the pandemic – is astonishing.

“Many of the societal and environmental challenges we’re facing are only set to intensify, and we believe social enterprises hold many of the answers. We’re proud to be strengthening our support of these businesses with specialist support and new access to finance, as they continue to do great things in our society.”

To read the full No Going Back: State of Social Enterprise Report 2021 visit:

To find out more about Barclays support for social enterprises visit:

1Consumer research conducted by Opinium 04.10.21 – 06.10.21. Sample: 2,000 nationally representative 18+ adults in the UK

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